Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Science | By Hubert Green

Facebook gets exclusives rights to 25 Major League Baseball games this season

Facebook gets exclusives rights to 25 Major League Baseball games this season

Major League Baseball will stream an afternoon weekday game exclusively on Facebook Live each week during the 2018 season, the league announced Friday.

The deal was approved unanimously by the 30 Major League Clubs, with the agreement marking an extension of Facebook's 2017 season deal to simulcast local television broadcasts of 20 Friday night MLB games. They would not share financial terms, but sources close to the matter tell Bloomberg it was in the ballpark of $30 million to $35 million. This means if you want to watch those games on mobile, desktop or TV, you'll need to log into Facebook first.

The partnership will begin on April 4 with a match-up between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets.

Facebook's MLB deal marks the first time a major USA sports league has agreed to exclusively air regular season games on the social media network, according to Bloomberg. Major League Baseball said that every owner unanimously approved the deal. The company started livestreaming games back in May 2017, but this is the first time a United States major league has granted a social network sole rights to broadcast games. That said, Facebook will be experimenting with social integration and special graphics (which makes sense for a social media platform).

Facebook will also have rights to show the baseball games globally, though they won't be exclusive outside the U.S. MLB and Facebook will update the schedule on a monthly basis.

Major League Baseball also will produce and distribute specially curated content in addition to each live game broadcast, including on-demand highlight packages for every regular season game as well as Club-specific weekly recap packages for all 30 Major League Baseball teams.

The games will be available for free through Facebook's Watch tab in News Feeds.

Facebook previously bid $600 million for the global TV and digital rights to stream cricket games from India's Premier League for five years.

Verizon signed a deal with the NBA to stream eight basketball games on Yahoo, and Amazon paid $50 million to stream National Football League games to Prime members last season. The company did acquire the rights to NFL recaps and highlights, giving the league a way to reach fans on the social media service. Facebook Watch is the site's video hub for original and live content.

Like this: